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Panzerkampfwagen II Tank



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In July 1934 the Heereswaffenamt issued an initial order for a tank design in the 10-ton class, intending it to be a stop-gap pending the arrival of the heavier designs which were to become the PzKpfw III and IV. Prototypes were submitted by MAN, Henschel and Krupp. The MAN version was accepted for production in 1935, with Daimler-Benz chosen to do the final development of the superstructure.
The PzKpfw II was first issued to Panzer units in the spring of 1936 and took part in the campaigns in Spain and Poland. Production continued until 1942 but during the campaign in the West it was relegated to a reconnaissance role. It was phased out of service with tank regiments in 1943 though it remained in service on secondary fronts until the end of the war. None of the pre-production models of the PzKpfw II still survive; these were the Ausf a1, a2, a3, b and c.

Ausf A, B and C

The Ausf A entered production in 1937 and was fitted with an improved HL62TRM engine and SSG46 gearbox as well as a new driver’s visor with narrower vision slit. The Ausf B was externally identical and became the most numerous production variant. The Ausf C appeared in 1938/9 and had modified engine cooling and thicker glass vision blocks.
Combat experience showed up deficiencies in the these early models, particularly insufficient armour protection and a lack of vision devices for the commander. Therefore, from 1939, Ausf A, B and C vehicles were gradually modified by the addition of armour plates on the superstructure and nose, making the nose squared-off instead of rounded. They were also later fitted with a new commander’s cupola with eight episcopes.

Model Id:
130
Manufacture:Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg (MAN) AG, Nürnberg, Bavaria, Middle Franconia, Germany (PzKpfw II A-C prime contractor 1935-1939)
Daimler-Benz AG, Marienfelde, Berlin, Germany (Secondary PzKpfw IIC manufacturer)
Fahrzeug- und Motoren-Werke (FAMO) GmbH, Stare Miasto, Wrocław, Dolnośląskie, Poland (Additional PzKpfw IIC manufacturer)
Wegmann & Co, Kassel, Nordhessen, Germany (Additional PzKpfw IIC manufacturer)
Mühlenbau-Industrie AG (MIAG), Braunschweig, Lower Saxony, Germany (Additional PzKpfw IIC manufacturer)


1) Canadian War Museum, LeBreton Flats, Canada

Number of Photos:
8
Sample Photo from Album Number 19

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Unique ID: 19
Serial Number:
Registration:
Name:
Other Identification: “112” painted on turret sides. German crosses painted on hull sides.

This PzKpfw II was transferred from Vimy House when the current museum was opened.

Ausf D and E

During 1938 Daimler-Benz produced two more versions of the PzKpfw II, the Ausf D and E. These were fitted with torsion bar suspension that gave a much higher top speed on roads. They were known as Schnellkampfwagen and 250 were produced. Some were later converted to the flame-thrower role and were known as PzKpfw II (Fl), SdKfz 122.

Ausf F

This was the final production model of the basic PzKpfw II series. It had a new hull and superstructure with increased armour protection and a dummy driver’s visor on the front plate. The suspension was the same as that used on the Ausf A, B and C apart from new conical idler wheels. Forty-five were planned to be produced each month but this target was rarely achieved. In total 625 examples of the Ausf F were produced and saw service in the Middle East, North Africa and the Soviet Union.
Ausf G, H and M were experimental versions of the PzKpfw II, none of which entered production.

Model Id:
134
Manufacture:Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg (MAN) AG, Nürnberg, Bavaria, Middle Franconia, Germany (Prime contractor 1940-1942)
Daimler-Benz AG, Marienfelde, Berlin, Germany (Secondary manufacturer)
Fahrzeug- und Motoren-Werke (FAMO) GmbH, Stare Miasto, Wrocław, Dolnośląskie, Poland (Additional manufacturer)
Wegmann & Co, Kassel, Nordhessen, Germany (Additional manufacturer until 1941)
Mühlenbau-Industrie AG (MIAG), Braunschweig, Lower Saxony, Germany (Additional manufacturer until 1940)


2) The Tank Museum - Public Areas, Bovington, Britain

Number of Photos:
9
Sample Photo from Album Number 89

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Unique ID: 89
Serial Number: 28434: chassis number.
Registration:
Name:
Other Identification: German crosses painted on hull side stowage boxes and hull rear. Painted overall in a grey and brown camouflage scheme (previously overall green).

This PzKpfw II was manufactured by FAMO in May 1942. British forces captured it in May 1943. It was put on the museum books in 1951. It is currently displayed in the markings of the 1st Panzer Division at the time of the German invasion of France in May 1940.

3) National Armor and Cavalry Museum, Fort Benning, USA

Number of Photos:
4
Sample Photo from Album Number 90

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Unique ID: 90
Serial Number:
Registration:
Name:
Other Identification:

This Panzer II went to the Wheatcroft Collection for some years, and was returned to the USA in 2012.

4) Kubinka NIIBT Research Collection - Foreign Vehicles, Kubinka, Russia

Number of Photos:
3
Sample Photo from Album Number 91

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Unique ID: 91
Serial Number:
Registration:
Name:
Other Identification: Serial number “28384”. Number “II01” painted on turret sides.

This Panzer II recently completed a long restoration, having been removed from display in November 2006 and returned on 17 February 2009. It was originally hoped to return it to running order but all internal equipment had been removed in the late 1940s-early 1950s. It had originally been rebuilt after Spring 1943, with its original Panzergrau colour removed and repainted to Dunkelgelb. Its current colour and markings are authentic; it had been a headquarters tank. (Source: Taranov).